The boat is designed to be sailed upwind with the stem immersed about 40mm. This will require you to sit well forward, especially in lighter winds. In boats with a waterline stripe this equates to the lower edge touching the water. In light airs the stem should be immersed even more (this helps reduce the wetted surface area, and hence low speed resistance, of the hull). The H2 is a well balanced boat and the centreboard should be fully down in all conditions to windward.As with most dinghies, the H2 should be sailed upright, but a small degree of heel is acceptable. The HD Sails sail has excellent ’gust response’ and in a gust you will find that the upper leech will free slightly and thus automatically depower the rig.
In very light airs you don’t want a deep sail – the aim is to flatten the sail without closing the leech too much. The forestay tension has a major effect on mast bend fore / aft and sideways and hence sail draft, so start by letting off the forestay so that the leeward shroud is slack. This reduces the effect of the spreaders and allows the mast to bend. The sail will flatten and the leech open. That will allow you to apply more kicker before the leech closes, flattening the sail further. Since the front of the sail is flatter you will be able to sail with the boom further out and still have good height. Position the boom fairly well out – about over the rear toestraps or a little further (in fact, this is the desired boom position for all wind strengths). However, the shape of the leech (i.e. straight) is more important than boom position. If you need to centre the boom more in order to point, it means that the leech is too open.
The lower leech needs to be closed a little (i.e. a slight return on the lowest batten). To achieve this you need to put some depth in the foot by easing the clew outhaul. There should be around 150mm from the middle of the boom to the sail at the mainsheet blocks. The draft at the forward end of the sail can be lessened by bending the mast – primarily with mainsheet tension and possibly the kicker also. On an H2 with a mainsheet car, the car is positioned about 150-200mm to leeward (this applies to any wind strength).
If you are not getting enough height, it means the sail is still too deep. Try letting off more forestay in order to allow the mast to bend more and then sheeting the boom closer. As the wind increases, tighten the forestay. This reduces mast bend and powers up the rig (makes the leech harder). As the wind increases to the point where you cannot keep the boat upright, slacken the forestay to increase mast bend, slacken the leech and thus depower the rig.
Sail with the mainsheet cleated, most of the time. If you get a gust, use it to gain height. If you feel the need to ease the mainsheet because you are getting overpowered and can’t steer through it consistently, ease the forestay more to depower the rig. But be careful not to over-do this. The Finns have this technique mastered – they never playthe mainsheet in anything but the very strongest winds and big seas.
The priority is to get flow across the sail. Leave the forestay and outhaul on upwind setting. Ease the kicker until the top batten goes straight, then pull a little back on until the top batten has a shallow bend in it. Raise the centreboard until you develop lee helm, then put it down a bit to neutralise the rudder. Keep your weight over the thwart and sheet straight off the boom.
Aim to keep the leech tell tales just flowing and the boat flat.
Medium airs reaching – looking for maximum power.
Pull the forestay on so that the leeward shroud is just snug. Ease the kicker until the top batten goes straight, then pull a little back on until the top batten has a shallow bend in it – this will need more tension than light airs. Ease the outhaul to give 200mm depth from sail to middle of boom above the mainsheet blocks. Raise the board until you develop lee helm, then down a bit to neutralise the rudder. You need enough board so that the boat tracks straight and changes direction easily,but no more. Weight in upwind position – bow should be just clear. Sheet off the boom if it’s a broader reach.
Heavy airs reaching – looking for control and easy steering.
Pull the forestay on so leeward shroud is just snug. Ease the kicker until the top batten goes straight, then pull a little back on until the top batten has a shallow bend in it – ease more if you need to steer or are having to move alot of mainsheet. Leave outhaul on upwind setting. Raise the centreboard enough to unload the rudder, but leave enough to stand on! Move your weight back to keep the bow clear – move forward in lulls.
In light airs, move well forward in order to trim the boat down by the bow. You can sit astride the central tank or ’side-saddle’ on the central tank or the thwart. If the latter, you can lean forward comfortably with your forearm along the side deck. In the really light stuff you can even lie in the bottom of the boat with your legs draped over the central tank. No kneeling required! In stronger winds, the best position is on the side deck. Some easing of the centreboard is acceptable (45 degrees), but if this is over-done the boat will become less stable – especially if your weight is well forward.
A lot of people sail down wind with the boom on the shrouds and the kicker on hard in order to lock the leech up. But because the leech is hard, when you head up it bites you – the boat heads up more aggressively than expected. And when you bear off the flow reverses all in one hit and it bites you again. A bit of twist smooths the flow transition. In most wind conditions aim to keep the flow going across the sail from leech to luff in the bottom half of the sail. This requires sheeting the boom in enough to stop the shroud distorting the sail and using only sufficient kicker to keep the head of the sail from going forward of the mast. Keeping flow over the rig loads it up so that you can sit on the side deck and be best placed for rapid reaction to changing conditions of wind and wave. Flow over the sail is further encouraged by sailing slightly by the lee. If you need to head up, once the boat starts turning ease the main to speed up the transition of flow across the sail. There is no need to tighten the forestay on the run – leave it as it was on the previous leg, as the shrouds are taking all the load.